Last Sunday, believers celebrated the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. His bodily resurrection is one of the most important doctrines of the Christian faith.
1 Corinthians 15:12-20: “Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.”
This statement was made by the Apostle Paul, a man who had been one of the most aggressive persecutors of the early followers of Jesus Christ. He had encountered the risen savior and was dramatically transformed into a believer.
The resurrection is essential to true Christianity; it is also a well-established fact. First, Jesus Christ was seen by the women who came to the tomb planning to anoint his body for a proper burial. They were surprised to find the tomb open and empty and were told to look and see that he had risen as he said. They quickly left to tell the others and were met by their risen Lord. He spoke with them, inviting them to touch him as proof he had risen.
Many others saw him that morning as well. In the 40 days between his resurrection and departure to heaven, he was seen by more than 500 disciples, 1Cor 15:1-9. The evidence of his resurrection is overwhelming.
Attorney Frank Morrison set out to prove the resurrection was nothing more than a myth. He made a diligent study of the record, publishing his conclusion in the book, “Who Moved The Stone.” Rather than disprove the resurrection, his research validated the biblical record, resulting in his conversion to believing in Jesus Christ and his resurrection.
Others with a similar testimony are Simon Greenleaf, a principal founder of Harvard Law School; Lee Strobel; Josh McDowell and a host of others. Unlike many that blindly deny the teachings of Christianity, these men, who entered their investigation with a bias against Christianity, weighed the evidence, followed the facts and were led to the feet of Jesus Christ, the risen, living savior.
As the passage in 1 Corinthians 15 said, “If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” The resurrection is an essential doctrine to Christianity. To be a Christian, to have your sins forgiven, you must accept the resurrection.
Jesus Christ shed his blood and died as payment for our sins. He then rose, victorious over sin and death. His resurrection proves he was who he claimed to be and that he had accomplished what he came to do: offer himself as the perfect and complete sacrifice for our sins.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23.
Kenneth Codner is pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Spring Mills. Contact him at khcodner @yahoo.